Jump Start # 2289
2 Thessalonians 3:13 “But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.”
Spiritual weariness—this is mentioned in Galatians, Hebrews, and here. We may not use that term. Instead, we may use the common expression, ‘burnout.’ The symptoms are all too common: exhausted spirit; sapped energy; dried up motivation. This is something that the workers and the servants in the kingdom struggle with and face. The lazy never experience burnout. The indifferent never know burnout. The non-committed don’t understand spiritual burnout. They are on the sidelines of the kingdom with one toe in the water. It’s the teachers, the shepherds, the preachers, the servants in the kingdom, those who are carrying the load, those who are trying so hard, those who are making a difference, that weariness can be a problem.
There are four stages of burnout.
First, disillusionment. Focus is lost. Vision becomes blurry.
Second, discouragement. We begin to complain. We begin to lose our heart.
Third, discontentment. Here a person becomes restless, negative and they see all the work and so few workers.
Fourth, disassociation. Finally, the towel is thrown in. The hard worker quits and joins those on the sidelines. Thoughts focus upon self.
Our verse today tells the disciples not to get there. Do not grow weary. That’s easy to say. Someone might respond, “you say that, but there is so few to help out.” Or, “I need a break, and there is no one to carry on.” And, when love for what we doing is replaced with a sense of obligation and duty, what we do suffers. The teacher becomes impatient and cranky. The preacher becomes demanding. The elder becomes bossy. Weariness carries over into our job performance.
This is something that is rarely talked about. So much of our effort is focused upon those sitting on the sidelines. We try to get them engaged and busy and we forget about those servants who are becoming weary. We assume that they will always carry on. We assume that they will never run out of energy.
How do we not grow weary?
First, realize that no one can do it all. Even the Lord couldn’t do it all. Jesus didn’t go into all the world and preach. The area He traveled in was small. Jesus needed the apostles. The apostles needed people like Timothy, Titus, and Apollos. Do what you can. Invite others to help you. Include younger ones to teach them. Communicate, share and work together. In the leadership, it’s an eldership, not one elder. The preacher ought to work with the elders and help each other by having transparent communications and sharing of ideas and concerns.
Second, remember that we serve the King. Our work isn’t about us, nor even the church. It’s about doing things for Jesus. We serve, because He first served. We work hard because He worked hard. Don’t lose that focus. The honor belongs to the Lord.
Third, refresh your spirit. You do that be connecting with others. Often you will learn that others are doing things and you just didn’t know about it. Draw ideas and energy from others. Our phones at the end of the day need recharging. So does our spirits. Worship is a wonderful way to get recharged. Spending time with quality people is another way. Spend some quite time reading, praying and reflecting. You can take a mental vacation without going anywhere. There are certain people in life that excite us. They have energy, enthusiasm and are a storehouse of ideas. Have lunch with them. Talk with others and share ideas.
Do not grow weary. It will happen unless you prevent it. It will happen unless you take the necessary steps to stop it. There’s not a lot of good that comes out of an old tired preacher or an old tired elder. Discouragement spreads. All it takes is for one weary servant to start complaining and before long, others have joined in that song. The mood changes. Things seem a lot darker than they were before. But the opposite is just as true. It’s like watching college basketball. Someone comes in off the bench. His legs are fresh and he has a lot of energy. He replaces a guy who has been in the midst of the game. He needs a break. He’s not done. He’s not out for the rest of the game. He’s getting a breather. Soon, he’s back in there.
It’s important that shepherds recognize who needs a breather. Pull someone off the bench and give your tired worker a short rest. Talk to him, just as a coach does when the player sits down on the bench. Pat him on the back. High-five him. Encourage him. Thank him. And, shortly, get him back into the game.
Across this country are tiny congregations that are holding on by a thread. A few deaths and the doors will close. In so many of those places, it’s just a few tired souls that are trying to keep the doors open. Some come and benefit but they do not help out. They need some help. They need some rest. They needs some ideas. What is needed is the spirit of Isaiah, who said, “Here am I, send me.”
Don’t grow weary. Don’t quit. Others need you. The Lord needs you. There is too much at stake here.